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Hot Soup to Emergency Workers Grappling With Floodwaters in Montreal

Hot Soup to Emergency Workers Grappling With Floodwaters in Montreal

A Chabad family of seven pitches in where they can, as rain and snow continue to fall

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Rabbi Shmuel and Chani Cohen, co-directors of the Chabad Jewish Centre of Kirkland, a suburb on the Island of Montreal, and their children spent Monday, during a break in the weather, serving homemade soup to emergency workers in the wake of widespread flooding.
Rabbi Shmuel and Chani Cohen, co-directors of the Chabad Jewish Centre of Kirkland, a suburb on the Island of Montreal, and their children spent Monday, during a break in the weather, serving homemade soup to emergency workers in the wake of widespread flooding.

How do you respond when a neighbor’s home becomes flooded? For the five Cohen children of Kirkland (a suburb on the Island of Montreal), the answer is simple. You put on your galoshes and give out soup.

Rabbi Shmuel Cohen, co-director of the Chabad Jewish Centre of Kirkland with his wife, Chana, reports that many homes in the lower-lying areas in the community of Pierrefonds and on the nearby island of Île Bizard have been flooded by the rising water of the Saint Lawrence River, which surrounds the cluster of islands that includes the Island of Montreal.

Thousands have left in what is being called a state emergency following heavy rains and a breach in local dikes. Floodwaters, the likes of which haven’t been seen in more than 20 years, have reached the city of Montreal as well.

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The rabbi says he is in touch with Jewish families known to have been evacuated (he does not believe there are more than a dozen in the immediate area) and plans to assist them on making their homes livable once the waters recede. “People are not insured for something like this,” says the rabbi, “so it is going to take assistance from the community to get them back on their feet again once the dust settles.”

The kids lend a hand to the effort.
The kids lend a hand to the effort.

The Cohens and their children spent Monday afternoon lugging around giant cauldrons of soup, which they shared with firefighters, Red Cross representatives and members of the military called up to assist in the unfolding emergency.

“The soldiers had their rations with them, but everything was cold,” notes the rabbi. “There was freezing rain and even snow coming down, so it was really nice for them to have something hot and homemade.”

Donations and requests for help can be sent here.

Cohen offers bowls of soup to military personnel stationed in the area.
Cohen offers bowls of soup to military personnel stationed in the area.
Rising water has caused a state of emergency and thousands to evacuate their homes.
Rising water has caused a state of emergency and thousands to evacuate their homes.


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